Hobby classes for children - Dance , Music , Art & Craft
Created by Payal Updated on Dec 03, 2012
With a long winter and festive vacations around the corner, you, may be looking for classes for your kids which will provide them with training in some new interesting topic while at the same time keeping them happy and occupied. Or, if you had a child of my child’s age, she may be old enough to start something extra apart from the schoolwork and exams. As my daughter crossed the milestone age of 5 this July, I stepped up my search for some hobby classes for her to fill her time and excess energy that she seems to be brimming with.
With cities chock a block with apartments and roads so crowded with fast cars, the time is perhaps not opportune, when children could go out to play with their friends. However the lack of space for running around or playing hide and seek can be converted into something useful rather than a situation when our children sit their evenings out in front of the TV.
Why would you put your kid in a hobby class?
Here are some supporting reasons:
• Learn a new skill: A hobby class provides kids the space, time and training to learn new skills, which can be of their interest
• Exercise and activity: It gives them the scope to go out for physical activities or build friends rather than waste their time watching TV or play video games, which, may in some cases even lead to lifestyle diseases like childhood obesity
• Build lasting bonds: Another positive consequence of these classes is friendships. Today the world of the child is limited to his or her school mostly. These classes provide children with a separate peer group with similar interests that will help them bond.
• Build confidence: If you perceive your child to be shy or lacking in confidence, certain classes may, in fact, help them to make friends and build more confidence.
• Extracurricular activity and development: It will go a long way to take them out of the school learning environment and provide them a safe and a fun way towards extracurricular development.
• Build a career: Moreover, you may have noticed that your child is good at drawing. Or she is a natural in dancing. Whatever your child’s hidden talent, the best way to bring it out is to enroll your child into a hobby class. If you don’t understand what your child may be good at as yet, it might be a good idea to choose between the varied offerings and then ask your child what he or she prefers. You might be surprised to know your little drama queen could be a budding artiste with some great talent for stage. Or maybe the scribbles that he has filled your wall with, can be a precursor to the next Picasso.
• Help in the curriculum also: Some classes like abacus or vedic math or science can help in their studies in the holiday seasons.
Hobby Classes are the latest buzzword among parents and the choices offered in almost all cities nowadays are mind-boggling. While I settled for dance and art classes for my daughter, both of which she happens to enjoy, there are so many choices out there that I wanted to share with other parents who might be looking for something for their children.
First, the usual ones:
Every city and town now offers dance classes by the dozen, from traditional to modern.
Traditional dance: Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Odissi, Kathakali, Manipuri, Kuchipudi, are some of the dance forms a child may learn but you will have to find an academy close to home. Dance classes usually start from the age of 5 but some teachers will not teach slightly difficult steps till the age of 7, till the child has reached a level of gross motor and fine motor development. However, dance invariably strengthens muscles and some dance forms like Bharatnatyam which use a lot of intricate hand and finger movements, also help in developing the joints of these areas and are said to improve pencil holding and handwriting skills in 5- 6 year olds.
Modern dance: While there has been a marked leaning of girls towards the traditional forms of dance like Bharatnatyam and Kathak, nowadays dance forms like salsa, hip hop, jazz, ballet or Bollywood style dancing have started gaining popularity and are offered by small studios.
Here of course, the list of options is endless really. From traditional classical to rock bands, your child may choose from a host of alternatives.
Traditional forms of music: You may choose from Vocal- Hindustani or Carnatic, folk or opera. Semi classical forms like thumri, ghazals, tappas etc also form another genre. Regional choices also vary for example, Rabindrasangeet/ Nazrul-geeti or related classes for Bengalis.
Modern forms of music: Jazz, rock, and other contemporary music are catching up in urban areas.
Instrumental: Your child may be interested in some musical instruments. Classes start from 5 years for kids, these include violin, tabla, keyboard, drums and so on. A little older child may go for sitar, veena, piano, and guitar. There is a lot of choice in both Indian and Western instruments. Flute and clarinet are for kids above 10 years and parents interested in saxophone have to wait till their child is about 12 years old.
A word of caution here: Some parents have been seen also to choose an instrument which best suits their status and don’t take their children’s interest into account. For example I have seen a child really good in vocal musical capabilities, but her parents insisted that she learnt violin as that was more in sync with their social standing. Instead, a child should be gauged for her interest in an instrument. Vocal talent is easily discernible and can be encouraged.
Art and Craft:
From structured art courses like Global Art or summer classes, to local apartment craft classes, here too the options are a-plenty. Drawing, sketching, painting, creative art, origami, calligraphy, to various craft projects, children are spoilt for choice. Here too the standard will vary with the age and skill of the child. Where most art classes start from the age of 5, teenagers who can already paint or draw can be part of more advanced classes.
Drawing and painting: A child can start at a very young age to sit and sketch and use crayons and color pencils. This may be started at the age of 4-5 years. Once the basics are taught, a child may go on to painting with water-color and later with oil colors, if the interest persists and they continue training. After a certain level of skill has been achieved, talented painters may even be able to exhibit their work locally.
Craft: Various craft classes are available for children today, some of which have been mentioned above. While some may be short term holiday courses, like flower making, Paper quilling (making things out of paper) or calligraphy. Others, like clay modeling or woodcarving, may even be converted to a career for talented and interested children, if they have an aptitude for it. Some crafts, like jewellery making or terracotta can even graduate to a career later on in life, if one wants to continue with it. I will also include sewing, embroidery and knitting in this list. There are summer and winter camp classes abound in all cities to teach a few weeks of craft to children starting from the age of 3 or 4. It fills their time and also gets them to do something interesting in the bargain.
| Jan 31, 2013
very true payal. impressive blog. parents will definately take advantage from this.
| Dec 07, 2012
Very informative. Thanks Payal.
| Dec 05, 2012
This is one topic all parents think about at some point in time. We would all like our children to take interest in a form of music or art. You brought out a very good point on how a child maybe coerced into taking up a hobby or made to learn an instrument, by the parents. We should listen to our children and go along with their choice, which will have a better outcome. Great blog Payal!
| Dec 05, 2012
Love the picture!
| Dec 04, 2012
My child recently showed interest in learning the guitar. Rightfully said that we should let them pursue a hobby of their choice rather than impose our own preferences. At the same time, if we have the right information, we are better equipped to know what is suitable. Very well compiled.. !